Hanging from a Tree

That’s how he did it, by hanging from a tree,
how Óðinn won the ancient runes.
He challenges us to change our lives
by seeking those mysteries. And so we must,
by hanging also on a hallowed tree.
But what is Yggdrasil, and where might it be,
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Háskólavísur 14: The End of the Degree

The cold Oslo winter persisted, and the Skald fortified himself for the long siege, working diligently on his master’s thesis. But after 15 weeks, as winter’s assault finally relented, the Skald finished his glorious text of 36,000 words about his ancient counterpart, the figure of the skald as found in the probable works of Snorri Sturluson: Edda, Heimskringla, and Egils saga. After a brief celebration and much relaxing that included plenty of sight-seeing, the Skald prepared to face the final contest in his master’s degree. With his lady from his time in Iceland by his side once more, he undertook the ordeal of a trial-by-lecture in a runology course and emerged victorious. It is said he celebrated the day with fine rum and a cigar in the afternoon, and by a sushi dinner and a bottle of mead with his lady in the evening. He rested the next day, composing this verse:

My wode had waxed through the winter’s dark
and opened my flow of artful words.
O’er pages of ink, I poured the Mead,
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Háskólavísur 13: The Turning Wheel

Autumn rolled on as the months passed. The Skald finished his first semester courses in time to celebrate his birthday in a state of total rest. December was not so cold in Oslo as one might have expected. January made up for it, however, when winter arrived in earnest. After that birthday rest, however, a protracted fight with doctoral program applications commenced. It dragged on longer than expected, running into mid January, but at last it was finished. The new year brought a new semester, the last of the Skald’s MA in Viking & Medieval Norse Studes, which held some long-awaited treats: his master’s thesis and an advanced runology course, the latter to be examined by trial lecture. Once in the thick of things, the Skald considered his situation, and composed this verse:

The turning wheel brought time for rest,
as I completed courses and passed the solstice.
The future is foggy for my further studies,
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Preview of a New Rúnatal

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Though I haven’t posted, I’ve still been writing poetry, and a lot of it, and I’ll share some draft pieces today. What I’ve been writing lately will ultimately be a 729-line poem in the Anglo-Saxon style (the style debuted here on my blog), a New Rune Tally (aka “Rúnatal en Nýja” if you prefer Old Norse), inspired by the Rúnatal þáttr Óðins, which is Hávamál stanzas 138-145. (My poetic translation of that traditional Rúnatal is here.) A sizeable chunk of it will consist of tallies of certain things, with nine lines devoted to each item in each tally.

The whole poem, when finished, will be too long to fit in a blog post. Nevertheless, it will make its way to the world eventually, when it has been sufficiently revised and edited. The portions I preview today from the various tallies should be thought of as draft versions that are subject to change. Continue reading

Oops! There was an Error in the Calculations!

Alas, it would seem that there was an error in my calculations yesterday. It turns out that the stars are not right. Or maybe they were right, but only for yesterday. In any case, the terrifying madness brought on by my Cthulhu gnosis has subsided, and I have remembered who I am: an Asatru poet and writer, dedicated bringing the Mead to Midgard in service to Óðinn and Valhöll. Though it was only two days ago, it feels like centuries in a way.

For anyone out there who still hasn’t figured it out, I have only two final words about yesterday’s post:

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Convert to the Cthulhu Cult!

After much intense study, I have determined that today the stars are right, and that the return of the Great Old Ones is immanent. As for the Ragnarök, I don’t know when that will be, but it doesn’t matter: the Great Old Ones will clearly get here first. All will be destroyed, for we are mere insects compared to these incomprehensible beings, and they regard us no better than the average human regards insects. Thus, I have converted my religion to that of the Cthulhu Cult. In the end, this won’t spare me from their destructive return — it simply means that I’ll get to enjoy some power, prestige, and good times before I too am destroyed at the end of it all. I encourage my former fellow heathens to join me in my conversion instead of attempting a futile resistance. Thus I am using this blog to further the cause of expanding the Cthulhu Cult.

How shall that be done? Though I have converted to the Cthulhu Cult, I still have the skills in poetry and runes that I have acquired, and I feel it best that I use these skills in service of my new masters instead of discarding them. So today I first provide a poetic Call to Cthulhu for those who would honor and serve Him, followed immediately by a rendering of a key phrase in runes that His worshippers may carve as an act of pious devotion which will also add to His power.

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A Runic Poem of the Nine Noble Virtues

Over a year ago, I posted a poem about the Nine Noble Virtues. Today I present a second poem on the Nine Noble Virtues, one that takes a different approach. For this poem, I went through the rune staves of the Elder Futhark and paired a single stave to each of the virtues. It is in six stanzas of fornyrðislag. The names of the runes and the virtues are capitalized here.

A mainful song
I sing of virtues;
nine they number,
noble they be.
Useful to have,
they help my quest,
riding the road
to Runes and Mead.

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